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Sunday morning meditation: A word from Mr. B


Sunday morning meditation: A word from Mr. B

Chris Billingsley. Source: Facebook.com

Chris Billingsley. Source: Facebook.com

Chris Billingsley sat behind me the other day.

We were both there early for the Jan. 21 Decatur City Commission meeting. Commissioners would soon face hours of withering criticism from residents over a proposal to encourage tree planting and restrict tree removal. They eventually deferred approval until March.

“Hey there, Mr. B,” I said to him over my shoulder.

“Chris,” he corrected, his eyes focused on the meeting agenda.

Billingsley is a retired Decatur High social studies teacher. He has a voice that sounds like a loud smack. It commands attention and you can feel your spine straighten up a little when he talks to you. For whatever reason, he’s taken an interest in Decaturish. He frequently leaves thoughtful, funny comments. He always uses his real name, which I appreciate.

During the meeting, Billingsley stood in front of city commissioners, the first among many speakers who tore the tree ordinance apart limb by limb.

He scowled at them as though they’d misbehaved in one of his classes.

I think I saw their backs straighten a bit.

“My wife and I basically want to be left alone in the city of Decatur,” Billingsley barked. “I would like for you to not only represent the interest groups but also the people who want to be left alone.”

He’s taken to calling Decaturish “Dish” for short. It’s a name I like so much that I made it the title of my forthcoming editor’s blog that will appear when we re-launch.

He sent me this photo on Jan. 23 and a little story to go along with it.


“On this cold winter afternoon, one which the dogs did not want to go for a walk, while on a stroll in the eastern half of the Decatur cemetery, there in the distance, fluttering in the evening a wind, was an American flag. In a neglected part of the old cemetery, someone took the time to post a flag on a grave site, hoping that anyone passing by would stop and ponder what this American went through while serving in Korea on a night like tonight more than sixty years ago.” – Chris Billingsley 

Like any good teacher, Billingsley always encourages everyone to look at the big picture.

A few days ago, he warned me that if I started meddling with his comments – tampering with them because I disagree with his views – he’d bolt for more welcoming internet pastures.

It’s a thought that never crossed my mind. If anything, I’m more concerned about him correcting me.

I’m just glad he’s on my side.